A PERSON OF SUBSTANCE

When I think about where I have been in life and where I still have to go, I get nervous. Have I done enough? It is not exactly clear to me when I realized that my life here on Earth had an actual purpose, but it became clear to me that it does. The path that I have been following for many years, even if I didn’t recognize it, is to make the world a softer, kinder, and gentler place. A person of substance is what I try to be.  I repeat… try.

It is apparent to others how much I “love” people. I really do. It is one of my many Blessings that I have been given during my life and one beyond compare. How is it possible that one whom had minimal affection/love as a child grows up to be caring and compassionate? Perhaps, it was acquired over time, but what I know clearly is that people react to kindness and caring. Is it possible that this fact is so often overlooked?

Then one day, I got it! Most important to others is that we be a man or woman of substance. What exactly is that?   Paraphrasing the definition:

“A person of substance is someone who strives to live a life that means something and who chooses to participate rather than be a spectator in life in order to be part of the solution as opposed to the problem.”

But what would make us actively participate and try to seek new roads? Initially, we need to find a cause outside of our own being. For some, that’s uncomfortable. While it is natural and accepted that we humans are self-absorbed and often self-centered… a cause that benefits just one person and would hardly make a dent on the significance scale. That’s according to some people; I disagree. No cause is too small. Doing something for the greater good means to pursue causes that:

  • Make the world a better place
  • Increase the quality of life for others
  • Right a wrong
  • Prevent the end of something good… or
  • Initiate something good

Participation

Active participation requires courage and people of substance must have it! While the frail soul is safe from failure, they will never taste victory either. So, people of substance take risks. They try and they fail, but they never grow weary of trying. U.S President Teddy Roosevelt said:

     “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasm, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

People of substance take responsibility for their actions successful or not. They wholeheartedly put themselves at the center of the action and fully accept whatever the consequences that the action may bring.

Solutions

People of substance know that there is no middle/neutral position on anything. They identify with the belief that, “If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.” Similar to wants outnumbering means, problems outnumber solutions and real problem solvers in life are few and far between.

Good problem solving between competing interests typically requires a person of integrity with complete objectivity and solid values. The solution seeking person of substance will have had significant experience in both the good and the bad.

They will have “met with triumph and disaster and have treated those just the same” as the IF poem, by Rudyard Kipling, so accurately says. No doubt they will have lived an experience rich, full, and varied life. Choosing to experience life outside of our comfort zone in order to gain life experiences that can be used in solving problems would appear to be another action that would lead to becoming a person of substance. Sometimes, it is hard.

Becoming

It appears to me that becoming anything involves a series of decisions followed by necessary actions. Becoming a person of substance is no different. It starts for all of us the same:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference. (Robert Frost)

We each make hundreds of decisions each day. We choose between frivolous and important, between what’s best for us and what’s right, between short and long term betterment, between politeness and wholeheartedness, between apathy and commitment, between self-centered and the greater good, between avoiding and accepting responsibility, between risk avoidance and risk management, between a life of leisure and a life of challenge, between timidity and courage, and between deceit and integrity.

I believe the person of substance chooses the less travelled road… the second option, at each and every divergence.   It is indeed the harder road, but one well worth it.

IT’S ALWAYS TIME FOR A CHANGE…OURS

 

All of us face some test of… defying the odds and overcoming personal challenges, at some point in our lives. Whether it’s overcoming current or past abuse, financial and/or emotional tests, drug and alcohol addiction or any number of other things; if/when we defy the odds…we win! Often, I write about how blessed I feel, that in spite of my background…I am relatively unscathed. When I think about it further, I know that it was also positive action on my part.

When we overcome statistical odds in our own lives and come out better on the other side…we are winners in our own right. No one chooses to be on the receiving end of a painful test or challenge. Similarly, no one gets to choose their birth parents, sex, skin color, or even nationality. The mere fact that we arrive on this Earth as humans, at all …is somewhat of a statistical miracle. We arrive from the fertilization of a single sperm finding a single egg. That’s defying the odds right there in our own birth.

In this great country of the United States, we DO get to choose other things that we often take for granted; freedom of speech and freedom of religion are just two. We saw it in action during this past campaign and will see it in 2020… Again.  In addition, we have the freedom to leave our own negative choices and pasts behind us, at any time. We have the freedom to pursue an education, and take it to the highest level, similar to our presidents, and therefore secure good employment. We have the freedom to help others and give generously of ourselves to make America a better place for all. That follows that we can be a country of givers and not takers. This applies to all of us. It appears we are off to a start in that direction… again… or maybe for the first time.

We also have the freedom to stop whining about what we don’t have, can’t do, or don’t like… and make our own changes. The current or next administration is not going to pay our rent/mortgage, lower gas/food prices, and cure all the other issues facing our country. Let’s do it for ourselves and become a Nation of “Givers” beyond compare. And I’m not referring to handouts and freebies from local organizations and governments. Do not expect to take unless you sincerely believe in Paying Forward when your own personal challenge has ended.

When I thought of the slogan “Time for a Change” …again… it means that we all have to change in some personal area; this is not a slogan for any administration alone!  

Defy the odds, overcome your own challenges and become better with each day. In America, all things are possible.

 

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS “TOO NICE”

It started in my early years… most likely in grade school.  Often, I was told I was “too nice.” Perhaps, it was because I went home to conditions that were the farthest thing from “nice” and “normal.” Even teachers would tell me that I was “too nice!”  I was the one who would pick the worst player… first… for the kickball team.  I wanted to be sure they knew that they wouldn’t be left standing there at the end of choosing.  I was also the student who volunteered to stay after and clean the boards.  The truth was that I would do anything not to go home.

Years later in my teaching career, both on high school and in college levels, I was told the same thing.  ” Ms B… you’re too nice.”  I got this on Annual Teaching Reviews and from the students themselves.  Nope,  I saw it as caring, love, and guidance. In the end, they all did as well.

     Here’s what I absolutely know about being “too nice,” in my adult years. There is what others might say about being “too nice,” but then there is my view…as always.

 People will see you as weak

They might take advantage of you. This first point is no shock. This is generally the rap against being too quick to put your own needs aside in favor of the needs of others and many, point out this danger.

 I say:You can never be too nice to others.  Do it without thinking.


 You forget to be nice to yourself

This is also a problem with being “too nice,” some might say/feel.   It is often cited by experts in regard to entrepreneurship as a problem.  Being responsive is great for your business, but take your focus on meeting others’ needs too far and …  you’ll end up with no time left over to work on your own priorities or the longer-term issues that are essential to your company. 

 I say:  Find the balance in life.  It is not You vs. Them, but rather…  You and Them!

 You attract the wrong kind of people

Kindness may be a prerequisite for healthy and meaningful relationships, but also an inability to set boundaries. Being excessively nice… “You will start to attract needy, whiny, overly emotional, demanding/controlling people,” say many experts. Again, I disagree.

I say:  You might be the only bright light in those peoples’ days and actually improve immeasurably the quality of their lives and therefore improve everyone’s day. Keep on! 

Folks might distrust you

Let’s face it, genuinely nice people aren’t rare, but especially in some corners of the business and professional world, they’re hardly in the majority either. This sad fact means that if you are truly nice, you’re liable to be occasionally misunderstood and even viewed with suspicion.  People might believe that you have an ulterior motive in mind,  otherwise, why would you be doing all these special things?   Just as there is no such thing as a free lunch,  there can’t be,  such a thing as “too nice”  and for no reason.”  Really?

I say: Prove them wrong!  Whether it’s in life, business, and relationships…  always be “too nice.”  Everyone benefits!

If someone is too nice to people, they start expecting unreasonable amount of niceness from others as well. This always leads to the nice ones thinking others are being mean to them or taking them for granted.  I read this in articles and it always makes me smile.

My guess is that some people cannot handle this and when they talk about how they’re nice to everyone while others take them for granted, they tend to sound very entitled.  (Maybe their niceness isn’t genuine.)

I say: It doesn’t matter if people are nice back to you.  What matters is that you are nice to them.  Expect nothing in return.

       How do you strike a balance between compassion and kindness, and being “too nice”?

Compassion and kindness are wonderful traits for people to have, but some times they are done for the wrong reason.  One should never show either  trait to: impress, gain respect, or to “show others up.”  This applies to home, work, and any other public ventures.  As of late, we have seen this in Politics and it hasn’t boded well with the masses.

I say: Always strive to be “nice” and compassion and kindness will follow!

But here’s a warning:  Never assume that someone is insecure, weak, or showing off if they are “too nice. ”  Sometimes, they just are that… nice!

School: Is So Much More Than Books

It’s Back to School time all across the U.S. I worry about the “kids” more today than ever before. Over my years within the classroom, I witnessed the students experimenting and trying new things at a younger and younger age. As my teaching discipline was high school English…it is fair to say over many years I “taught it all” and “taught all of them” and because of that saw teenagers in a natural light… away from home and with peers.

Many of them are still “children” inside, but with pressures from Society and friends, they try to come across as adults… both in their words and actions. I was lucky enough to be one of the trusted “real” adults that the students sought out for advice and guidance. It is fair to say that I offered it freely.

It is clear to me that although adults like to say and think that things were the same “when we were your age” ... it’s not even close to the same. We had issues and concerns, yes, but not the drama (their word not mine) which is clearly a part of the modern teens’ culture.

A parent, teacher, or guardian who is not aware that frequent drinking, readily available drugs, and early, early, early sex are the NORM with high schoolers (and even younger) and not the exception… are fooling themselves and at the same time doing a dis-service to their teen.  Kids, even the good ones, test the boundaries. Do not be naive.

Over the years, I taught in three different states in different parts of the country. I taught in the suburbs and I taught inner-city. There were times the students were well-off financially and there were times that almost all of them qualified for free-lunch. They were all skin colors, many different nationalities and yet … every one of them was the same.

Here’s the universal sameness :

Children/teens need and expect boundaries! Children/ teens need and hope for guidanceChildren/teens need consequences … when they violate those boundaries!
Children/teens need positive role models …not buddies!
Children/ teens need you to actively ask them the hard questions and then not believe the easy answers…   because it’s easier for you!
Children/teens are not adults…t hey just pretend that they are! BUT children and teens do ALL the things adults do and… they are still not ready.
They still have so much to learn in school… and in life.

May we all take a more active role in young lives, everywhere;
they are our legacy.

 

CHALLENGE vs. CHANGE … ever notice it’s just a few letters? Huh!

Some CHALLENGES become difficult to overcome, especially when the odds are stacked against us. Going against all odds, is something we’re capable of doing.  However, to overcome challenges you need to have that never quit attitude in your own life and psyche. If you develop it… you’ll overcome quite a bit.  I am sure of it.

Motivate yourself. Say, YES I CAN.

The challenge should bring out the best of you in this situation.  Slow it down, think that process though… completely. Develop that confidence by saying there’s no way you’re going to fail at this. If you develop that mindset, you’ll get it done.

Stay calm and cool headed when you’re facing serious troubles and problems in personal life as well as on the job. You have to collect yourself and calm down. You can’t panic your way through it.  Take a deep breath, relax, and slow down. Think things through calmly.  Then, and only then, move forward.

Let failure fuel you in a positive way.  Most people will avoid any challenge because they’re scared of failing.  Running from a challenge(s) IS failing!   Everyone fails at times. It’s not how many times you get knocked down that counts.  It’s how many times you get up in life that matters. You’ve heard that, right?  Believe it!  If you fail the first, second, or third time, don’t give up.  Pick yourself up and learn from why you’ve failed. Move on in a positive direction.

Simplify the problem or challenge you’re facing. Break it down into steps; then work your way to the top of it. You have to work from the bottom up. Work through each step of the process of overcoming this particular challenge. However, it all starts by breaking it  into steps. As you get through each step, you develop more confidence that you can get it done…  you will.

Maintain being positive and confident. Overcoming a challenge, you have to believe you can really do it. You have to find out all the ways you can overcome it and put it to full use and effort. People overcome all kinds of challenges everyday. I believe that challenges aren’t nearly as hard as presented… most the time.  It’s our own mental limitation(s) that’s the difficult part. When you get into the mind frame of doing it… mentally,  then you’ll actually be able to do it. Get strong!

Think the best, not the worst, possible outcome. What can really be the worst thing that happens if you don’t overcome this challenge? Do you lose something extremely valuable? Are you afraid you’ll be mocked?  Are you afraid of being labeled a failure? The most successful people have been labeled these things at one point or another.  How do you think they overcome challenges in their life?  They’ve been through the process of not doing it before.  BUT… instead of staying defeated, they used these parts of their own lives to become who (what) they are today.

Learn from watching sports… especially Pro Sports.  Sports are a great way to watch, learn, and understand how to overcome challenges. We, as viewers, get to see in these pressure situations… then watch as the team overcomes the challenges.  Sports for us, are a way to experience and witness that anything is possible. Yes, anything is possible!

We are given this opportunity each and every day to not only accept challenges in LIFE, but to rise and succeed as we deal with them.  LIVE BOLDLY!

GENERATIONAL GUIDANCE is not Easy. Do it nonetheless… It is LOVE!

I try to keep up with many of my former students’ lives.  Over the years, I have taught so many; I’d like to say I remember them all, but that would be a lie.  I do remember all of those with “promise” and all of those with “struggles” as they took most of my attention and heart during the time I had them in the classroom. It’s impossible for me  to say who touched me the most.  Was it the ones that had so much potential, and actually went on to accomplish great things after they left me, or the ones who had overcome great odds and just getting them to come to school and eventually graduate high school had been a feat in itself?   I  can’t say.

In today’s high-tech society it is easy to follow their progress… or lack of.  Often they contact me themselves, my own email address has been the same since AOL’s inception and my students have  many times told me…”It’s so you, Ms. Brown!”  For that reason alone, I will always keep it.  Lately, it has not been difficult to track them down on the Internet. Sometimes, it’s through one of the conventional social connectors: i.e.  Facebook, Twitter, or now they tell me to Instagram them, whatever.  I also Google them and see what’s going on with them good… or bad.

AND…every once in a while, I am sent a news article that delights me or causes me concern.  Technology makes us all connected… good and bad news.

It was one of the latter, that has been consuming most of my thinking the past few days.  I was forwarded  news  about one of the students that had held so much promise. He was gifted academically, a wonderful athlete, a leader in his class, and was ultimately accepted into one of the most prestigious universities in the Northeast.  He has now been out of college for quite a few years. The article read that He had just been sentenced to prison for the next decade of his life… on drug related charges.  It took my breath away.  How had this happened?

His proverbial fall from grace not only astounded me, but made me cry.  He was a student that had passed through my life and yet, I felt like I had failed him.  I can’t even imagine the raw emotions his family must be having. The feelings must run the full reign from anger, sadness, failure, and shame… then back to anger!  I know that’s what I felt anyway.

How dare he throw his life away like that!   Life is about CHOICE and with each and every positive choice we make we define who we are. What I couldn’t get my mind around was how selfish this young man had been.  He had thought of no one but himself with his destructive actions.  Hadn’t he seen that?  Where had he “learned” that he could do whatever he wanted to and not be accountable?

When we are given gifts and/or talents in our individual journeys, during this time on Earth, and we throw them away… we are being disrespectful not only to our Creator, but to all who love, nurture, and take care of us.  It is  hard for me to reflect on the number of young people who come from really difficult backgrounds and home lives and do go on to make the world a better place for those who will follow them.  There are many of those, but many “choose” to go the wrong way too.  This was not the first former student who had chosen a destructive path in their lives.

It is then that I wondered with guilt if Society, as a whole, has just been too easy on America’s youth and young adults in the past two decades!  I am the first to acknowledge that there are many wonderful young people, but have we lost something that used to be present years ago, by giving too much and asking too little of them.

When do they stop asking for: cars, trips, and parents to “bail them out”  when they get into legal and/or financial trouble.   It appears that WE  have created THE generation of “entitlement” in our country. There is an unspoken ME, among many of them, that is so troubling.  We love them so much that we honestly believe the way to make them love us back is to always: give, forgive, and ignore their negative choices.

Perhaps, we adults/parents are the selfish and needy ones.  It is difficult to have our  children not “love us” or even dislike us from time to time.  What I’m professing is that being  good parents, (coaches or educators as well), requires a strong backbone.  Being strong parents is necessary and we must be consistent, even when our “children” get older.

There can be no copping out because it’s easier to say “Yes,” or “I’ll get you out of it,” or “Here’s the money for…,” saying”No!” is difficult, but often the only right thing to do.    However, with this said America’s youth in the end accountable for their own screw ups! There are always consequences for bad choices and always have been. They did not consult with us when they had unprotected sex, bought and used drugs/alcohol illegally, ran up credit cards, or dropped out of school.  We need to recognize that they can learn from their mistakes.  We did.

We can not cure the problem(s) of our country’s upcoming generations, but we sure can start fixing our own mistakes in how we love them and guide them in positive directions.

Right now, we can, and must, start by being stronger parents/adults and bosses/supervisors ourselves.   Give our children less and speak up about any negative choices in their lives when seen necessary.  Counsel, wisely and compassionately, employees when they are heading in the wrong direction at work and personally.  Being strong and caring for others is not a negative thing; caring for others is the right thing both for them and others.  

LET IT BEGIN… WITH EACH OF US!

 

Ruth went to her mail box on Christmas Eve, and there was only one letter. She picked it up and looked at it before opening, but then she looked at the envelope again. There was no stamp, no postmark, only her name and address. She read the letter:
Dear Ruth:

I’m going to be in your neighborhood this Christmas and I’d like to stop by for a visit.

Love Always,
Jesus

Ruth’s hands were shaking as she placed the letter on the table. “Why would the Lord want to visit me? I’m nobody special. I don’t have anything to offer.” With that thought, Ruth remembered her empty kitchen cabinets.

“Oh my goodness, I really don’t have anything to offer. It’s already Christmas Eve and the stores will be closing. I’ll have to run down out and buy something for dinner right away.” She reached for her purse and counted out its contents. Five dollars and forty cents.

“Well, I can get some bread and cold cuts, at least.” She threw on her coat and hurried out the door. A loaf of French bread, a half-pound of sliced turkey, and a carton of milk…leaving Ruth with grand total of twelve cents to last her until next week. Nonetheless, she felt good as she headed home, her meager offerings of a Christmas dinner tucked under her arm.

“Hey lady, can you help us, lady?” Ruth had been so absorbed in her dinner plans, she hadn’t even noticed two figures huddled in the alleyway. A man and a woman, both of them dressed in little more than rags.

“Look lady, I ain’t got a job, ya know, and my wife and I have been living here on the street, and, well, now it’s getting cold and we’re getting kinda hungry and, well, it’s Christmas Eve, if you could help us, lady, we’d really appreciate it.”

Ruth looked at them both. They were dirty, they smelled bad and, frankly, she was certain that they could get some kind of work if they really wanted to.

“Sir, I’d like to help you, but I’m a poor woman myself. All I have is a few cold cuts and some bread, and I’m having an important guest for Christmas and I was planning on serving that to Him.”

“Yeah, well, okay lady, I understand. Thanks anyway”. The man put his arm around the woman’s shoulders, turned and headed back into the alley as a gentle snow began to fall. As she watched them leave, Ruth felt a familiar twinge in her heart.

“Sir, wait!” The couple stopped and turned as she ran down the alley after them. Look, why don’t you take this food. I’ll figure out something else to serve my guest.” She handed the man her grocery bag.

“Thank you lady. Thank you very much!” “Yes, thank you!”

Ruth could see now that the woman was shivering.

“You know, I’ve got another coat at home. Here, why don’t you take this one.” Ruth unbuttoned her jacket and slipped it over the woman’s shoulders. Then smiling, she turned and walked back to the street …. without her coat and with nothing to serve her guest.

“Thank you lady! Thank you very much! …. and Merry Christmas!”

Ruth was chilled by the time she reached her front door, and worried too. The Lord was coming to visit and she didn’t have anything to offer Him. She fumbled through her purse for the door key. But as she did, she noticed another envelope in her mailbox.

“That’s odd. The mailman doesn’t usually deliver on Christmas Eve.”

She took the envelope out of the box and opened it.

Dear Ruth:

It was so good to see you again. Thank you for the lovely Christmas dinner. And thank you, too, for the beautiful coat.

Love Always,
Jesus

The air was still cold, and the snow was falling even harder, but even without her coat, Ruth no longer noticed.    Let us all be Ruth this Holiday Season!

FORGET FLORENCE

Positive Thinking, Even When You Don’t Want To… WORKS!

When you become angry, your thoughts turn negative and as a result, your anger increases. Your negative thoughts keep that anger going.

So, try applying a little bit of positive thinking can help reduce or even eliminate that anger. Of course, this may not always be easy when you’re angry for a reason, but it is actually very simple. Positive thinking can really help you manage that anger and even get you into a much better mood.

Positive thinking can become habitual and turn into a way of life. I try to practice this even when things get overbearing.

It is very helpful in making you feel happier and better about yourself and your life. Many thoughts are naturally negative, but if you can retaliate against those negative thoughts with positive ones, it will greatly affect your overall wellness.

If you can start to change your thoughts now, it can also change how you think when you feel angry. Try thinking of positive aspects of your life, your body, your friends, your family, your job, and anything else you can think of. Consider everything and write down your positive thoughts.

If something happens and you feel angry, try reading over all that you have written down and and think on it.

Instead of negative thoughts or verbally snapping at another, you may be encouraged to write down your thoughts when you’re angry and keep a journal. Write it, forget it; say it, regret it!

After you’ve calmed down, it’s a good idea to read what you have written and then write down positive words to get your flow going back into a positive direction. Positive thinking can really help you if you believe that it will, but you have to try it! Then, track your results and as you see improvements you’ll start to believe in the power of positive thinking.

Stress is a major cause of anger. If you can learn to deal with your stress in a healthy way, you’ll be able to keep the anger away.

Try relaxing a little bit more and doing things that make you happy. If you love relaxing on the couch and watching a movie, make time to do that. If you love taking walks, then make that a priority. If you can learn to control your stress, do things you love, and be grateful for the good in your life, you will not feel as angry in those difficult times.

Learn how to be positive and apply positive thinking everyday: you’ll reap the rewards and enjoy life a lot more.
I am sure of it!

GUIDING the NEXT GENERATION(S): in the home, at school, on the job, and BEYOND!

I try to keep up with many of my former students’ lives.  Over the years, I have taught so many; I’d like to say I remember them all, but that would be a lie.  I do remember all of those with “promise” and all of those with “struggles” as they took most of my attention and heart during the time I had them in the classroom. It’s impossible for me  to say who touched me the most.  Was it the ones that had so much potential, and actually went on to accomplish great things after they left me, or the ones who had overcome great odds and just getting them to come to school and eventually graduate high school had been a feat in itself?   I honestly can’t say.

In today’s high-tech society it is easy to follow their progress… or lack of.  Often they contact me themselves, my own email address has been the same since AOL’s inception and my students have  many times told me… “It’s so you, Ms. Brown!”  For that reason alone, I will always keep it.

Lately, it has not been difficult to track them down on the Internet. Sometimes, it’s through one of the conventional Social Connectors: i.e.  Facebook, Twitter, or now they tell me to Instagram them, whatever.  I also Google them and see what’s going on with them good… or bad.

AND…every once in a while, I am sent a news article that delights me or causes me concern.  Technology makes us all connected… good and bad news.

It was one of the latter, that has been consuming most of my thinking the past few days.  I was forwarded  news  about one of the students that had held so much promise. He was gifted academically, a wonderful athlete, a leader in his class, and was ultimately accepted into one of the most prestigious universities in the Northeast.  He has now been out of college for quite a few years. The article read that He had just been sentenced to prison for the next decade of his life… on drug related charges.  It took my breath away.  How had this happened?

His proverbial fall from grace not only astounded me, but made me cry.  He was a student that had passed through my life and yet, I felt like I had failed him.  I can’t even imagine the raw emotions his family must be having. The feelings must run the full reign from anger, sadness, failure, and shame… then back to anger!  I know that’s what I felt anyway.

How dare he throw his life away like that!   Life is about CHOICE and with each and every positive choice we make we define who we are. What I couldn’t get my mind around was how selfish this young man had been.  He had thought of no one but himself with his destructive actions.  Hadn’t he seen that?  Where had he “learned” that he could do whatever he wanted to and not be accountable?

When we are given gifts and/or talents in our individual journeys, during this time on Earth, and we throw them away… we are being disrespectful not only to our Creator, but to all who love, nurture, and take care of us.  It is  hard for me to reflect on the number of young people who come from really difficult backgrounds and home lives and do go on to make the world a better place for those who will follow them.  There are many of those, but many “choose” to go the wrong way too.  This was not the first former student who had chosen a destructive path in their lives.

It is then that I wondered with guilt if Society, as a whole, has just been too easy on America’s youth and young adults in the past two decades!  I am the first to acknowledge that there are many wonderful young people, but have we lost something that used to be present years ago, by giving too much and asking too little of them.

When do they stop asking for: cars, trips, and parents to “bail them out”  when they get into legal and/or financial trouble.   It appears that WE  have created THE generation of “entitlement” in our country. There is an unspoken ME, among many of them, that is so troubling.  We love them so much that we honestly believe the way to make them love us back is to always: give, forgive, and ignore their negative choices.

Perhaps, we adults/parents, and nervous, law-suit concerned employers, are the selfish and needy ones.  It is difficult to have our  children not “love us” or even dislike us from time to time.  What I’m professing is that being  good parents, ( bosses, coaches and educators as well), requires a strong backbone.  Being strong parents is necessary and we must be consistent, even when the “children” get older.

There can be no copping out because it’s easier to say “Yes,” or “I’ll get you out of it,” or “Here’s the money for…,” saying”No!” is difficult, but often the only right thing to do.    However, with this said America’s youth in the end accountable for their own screw ups! There are always consequences for bad choices and always have been. They did not consult with us when they had unprotected sex, bought and used drugs/alcohol illegally, ran up credit cards, or dropped out of school.  We need to recognize that they can learn from their mistakes.  We did.

We can not cure the problem(s) of our country’s upcoming generations, but we sure can start fixing our own mistakes in how we love them and guide them in positive directions.

Right now, we can, and must, start by being stronger parents/adults and bosses/supervisors ourselves.   Give our children less and speak up about any negative choices in their lives when seen necessary.  Counsel, wisely and compassionately, employees when they are heading in the wrong direction at work and personally.  Being strong and caring for others is not a negative thing; caring for others is the right thing both for them and others.  Perhaps, it is the only thing to save Society as it is now.